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Vanderbilt (Full-Tuition) vs. Northwestern?

COLLWGE1227COLLWGE1227 5 replies1 threads New Member
Hi,

My daughter is currently in crunch time trying to decide between two amazing schools - Vanderbilt University and Northwestern University. At Vanderbilt, she has received the Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship and we, as a family, would be paying a lot more if she attended Northwestern. She loves both schools, but can't decide whether Northwestern is worth all of that money out of pocket. She wants to study the natural sciences (not sure specifically what yet) and eventually go on to medical school. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
45 replies
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Replies to: Vanderbilt (Full-Tuition) vs. Northwestern?

  • privatebankerprivatebanker 6622 replies143 threads Senior Member
    No I would not pay the extra money personally or advise my children or friends that either
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  • happy1happy1 23810 replies2383 threads Super Moderator
    edited April 2018
    If she loves both I'd go with Vandy. Save the money to help her pay for med school (or anything else she ultimately may decide to do).
    edited April 2018
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  • COLLWGE1227COLLWGE1227 5 replies1 threads New Member
    @privatebanker @tk21769 @happy1 Thank you all for the responses! It truly means a lot! While she does love both schools, she slightly does prefer Northwestern for the quarter system and the ample amount of opportunities in the greater Chicago area that's a little closer to home. She tells me that she wouldn't mind either one though and thinks student life will be fine wherever she goes. Would you all take into consideration prestige for the "natural sciences" program between the two schools as well?
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  • happy1happy1 23810 replies2383 threads Super Moderator
    I see no meaningful difference in prestige between Northwestern and Vandy.

    If she strongly prefers Northwestern and you can comfortably (no debt, no hardship) manage undergrad as well as med school then by all means go for it. If money is an issue especially with grad school in her future then I'd opt for Vandy in a heartbeat.
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 6622 replies143 threads Senior Member
    Sorry. I don’t have any insight into that other than what statistics etc can be found online.
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  • simba9simba9 3359 replies20 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2018
    Would you all take into consideration prestige for the "natural sciences" program between the two schools as well?
    No. I know Northwestern is a great school, but I don't really associate it with the natural sciences. Economics and journalism come to mind when I think of Northwestern.

    When I think of Vanderbilt, I think of health sciences first. That's probably because the medical school is such a big part of the campus, and when I visit my daughter in Nashville, there are always stories on the news and advertisements about the Vanderbilt Hospital.
    edited April 2018
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  • COLLWGE1227COLLWGE1227 5 replies1 threads New Member
    Thank you all for the responses so far - your insight truly is so helpful. Anyone else feel free to share their thoughts!
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  • prezbuckyprezbucky 4320 replies11 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2018
    Northwestern is stronger overall academically, but not six-figures stronger. The slight differences in quality/prestige are not worth that much money, unless she hated Vandy, loved NU, and you had money to burn.

    In my hair-splitting undergraduate private U tier system, Northwestern is one level above Vandy. One level isn't worth that much money unless, like I said, she is way in favor of NU and you can easily afford the cost difference.

    For perspective, here's where I have them in my hair-splitting, anal-retentive tier system:

    Tier 3:
    Brown
    Cornell
    Dartmouth
    Duke
    Hopkins
    Northwestern

    Tier 4:
    Emory
    Georgetown
    Notre Dame
    Rice
    Vanderbilt
    Washington U

    ... and maybe CMU.

    My tiers are based mainly on academic rep/quality, endowment, and (I'm embarrassed somewhat to say) a small drop of prestige. But mostly it's based on academic rep and quality, as well as i'm able to ascertain. I'm strongly considering replacing prestige with undergraduate focus.
    edited April 2018
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  • JayZee21JayZee21 149 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Choose Vandy!
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30559 replies192 threads Senior Member
    Can you even pay for Vanderbilt with this scholarship and no loans other than the standard federal student loans? Would your family need to borrow more than that? Start there.

    If Vanderbilt's costs are easy to cover, how about the cost of Northwestern? How secure is your daughter's college fund? Is there the equivalent of four years at Northwestern sitting in a 529 or the like? Or would you need to cobble together the money every year from multiple sources and tighten your belts?

    Provided Vanderbilt is possible without huge strain for the family, this looks pretty much like a no brainer to me. The savings are significant and could go a long way toward helping with the costs of med school or just with helping your daughter launch into life after colege. They also can give your daughter financial freedom while in college to take an unpaid or poorly paid internship that she really likes instead of having to pin down the best payong summer job or part time school year job that she can find.
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 6622 replies143 threads Senior Member
    If I take prezbucky’s list for fun and honestly reorder it for pure, “country club” prestige - as I call it. Tee shirt bumper sticker etc

    FWIW. New England born and raised. Business executive/Senior client facing banker over 25 years for a global banking giant. Not an academic. Not a journalist or engineer. Not an ad comm or counselor. Not a dr. Not pretty much everything else So this comes with all the biases and lack of knowledge in specific areas outside of industry that entails.

    Brown
    Hopkins (1 if anything medically related)
    Duke
    Cornell
    Tie / Georgetown/Vanderbilt/Northwestern
    ND
    CMU
    Rice
    Wash U.

    Or maybe this is men’s collegiate lacrosse rankings in 2017 :)
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  • waitingmomlawaitingmomla 254 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Country clubs around here (tri-state area) would put:

    Duke
    Brown
    Hopkins
    Cornell

    Northwestern
    Notre Dame/Vanderbilt/Rice - tie
    Wash U/Georgetown - tie
    CMU

    I guess it's somewhat based on perspective. But looks like most perspectives here illustrate that point that there is not a significant enough difference between Northwestern and Vanderbilt. And the CV scholarship is impressive. So if she loves both schools and plans for med school then take the money and run to Vandy.
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 6622 replies143 threads Senior Member
  • StanfordGSB00StanfordGSB00 79 replies7 threads Junior Member
    @prezbucky - I agree with prezbucky's grouping. Vandy is a great school but it doesn't have the historical reputation that Northwestern has. Remember that as of 2-3 years ago, Vandy was a school ranked in the 18-22 range, competing with the likes of Emory, Rice, etc. Northwestern has been in the 9-13 ranking spot for the last 30 years. High school students are very impressionable by ranking shifts year-to-year but it takes DECADES to change perceptions. And if you take the average ranking for the last 20 years, Vandy is a top 20 school and certainly not a top 15 school. Based on attending Stanford for my MBA and living / working in NYC at a prestigious investment bank / mega private equity fund: my ranking would be.

    Tier 1A: Duke / Northwestern / Brown / Hopkins / Dartmouth

    Tier 1B: Cornell - I put this here because its selectivity is significantly less than the others. Ask anyone in a high-prestige job in NYC on Wall Street or ask students at top private prep schools (Dalton, Horace Mann, Trinity, Andover, Exeter, etc, ), they will put Cornell a step below the others. As of just a year ago, the average SAT at Cornell was almost a 90-100 points lower than Duke and Northwestern. That's significant. Cornell is really a hybrid of a private ivy league and a top tier public university like Michigan, given its state subsidized schools. Part of prestige relates to exclusivity and selectivity and Cornell is the least selective of the schools in Tier 1A and 1B.

    Tier 2: Georgetown / Vanderbilt / Rice / Wash U / CMU
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  • prezbuckyprezbucky 4320 replies11 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2018
    Maybe we can revise it to say that "Private Cornell" belongs with Duke, NU and the rest, while "Public Cornell" belongs with UNLV, or at least the hotel school does. ;-)

    In all seriousness, though, I have Cornell up there primarily because their academic rep seems to be pretty strong across the board, similar to NU and Duke. They aren't as selective, but my tiers aren't looking at that too much -- they're based mostly on perceived academic quality/rep and endowment (the ability to spend money to benefit students...).
    edited April 2018
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3681 replies24 threads Senior Member
    Weather is better at Vandy, just saying!

    Seriously, great campus, wonderful for pre-med and I imagine that being a Cornelius Vanderbilt scholar comes with some nice perks and extra opportunities. Given the differential in cost, I vote for Vandy!
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  • jym626jym626 57351 replies3009 threads Senior Member
    Both are great schools but the Cornelius Vanderbilt is quite an honor. Go for it!
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  • COLLWGE1227COLLWGE1227 5 replies1 threads New Member
    Hi all, thank you so much for your responses to the intial question! It truly means a lot to have so many of you giving such thoughtful responses. If anyone has any other thoughts to share, please feel free to do so!
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